End of an Era: Dual Military Couple Retires After 36 Years of Air Force Service

  • Published
  • By Story by Staff Sgt. Duane Morgan
  • 174th Attack Wing

From enlisting the same year to retiring at the same time, one dual-military couple from the 174th Attack Wing (ATKW) have had a balanced, healthy marriage and family while serving their country together.

Chief Master Sgt. Sandra (Sandie) Fisher, 174th ATKW staff Senior Enlisted Leader and Inspector General Senior Enlisted Leader, and Master Sgt. Dennis Fisher, Vehicle Maintenance with the 174th Logistics Readiness Squadron, have each served in the Air Force 36 years while married for 35 of those years.

The Fishers enlisted in the Active-Duty Air Force just a couple of weeks apart in October 1987. They both arrived at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota for their first duty station. They met on Super Bowl Sunday in 1988 and there was an immediate attraction.

The Fishers said that it was love at first sight. “I walked in with my commander at an all-male dorm. She walked me up the stairs and said, “Do not leave your room.” He was the first person that was standing in the doorway, and we made eye contact as I went upstairs,” said Sandie.

“We started to hang out a lot, and planned to become roommates because we didn’t want to stay in the dorms,” said Sandie. “But we never left the dorm because it ended up becoming a co-ed dorm.”

They started dating and married a year later.

The couple said they have loved being in the Air Guard and how great it has been for their careers and family. They were able to be stationed together at Hancock Field for nearly 33 years, giving them stability at the start of their growing family.

However, for every service member, deployments and temporary duty assignments are commonplace, which can be challenging for dual military families.

“We both understood this life,” said Dennis. “We both understood that we joined the military, and this was just a part of the package,” said Sandie.
Sandie said there were times they had to deploy at the same time and rely on their Family Care Plan to ensure the safe care of their children while away.

In the past, they’ve had help from both family members and a babysitter.
“It is never easy, leaving our kids is and always was a challenge. We missed a lot of things that happened in our kids lives,” said Sandie. “We missed our daughter’s first year of college, we missed our son’s 21st birthday, and those things were upsetting for them.”

While things were challenging, the couple enjoyed their time at Hancock Field and said they have great memories. Sandie said they’ve been able to support each other in their career choices and learned the most imperative tool to a great military-to-military marriage is communication.

“Talk about your jobs, talk about what happened during the day. Be involved in their career, because if their career is important to them, it should be important to you,” Dennis said, which would be his advice for other dual military couples.

With a total of 72-years between them, they both agree it’s time to say goodbye to the Air Guard.

First thing on the agenda after retirement? A trip to Florida.

“After his last day here, we’re flying to Florida for four days,” Sandie said. “So, we’re going to start our new chapter on a little honeymoon, and when we get back it’ll be like a fresh start.”